ADV Films // 2003 // 250 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // June 23rd, 2004
A hit with television audiences worldwide!
Five episodes from the third season of Andromeda have been packed onto two discs. On a scale of zero to five stars:
*"The Right Horse"
Abie Labrone, a man accused of stealing top secret information, is protected by an unexpected party: Beka Valentine.
*"What Happens to a Rev Deferred?"
Long-lost ally Rev Bem signals the Andromeda for help.
*"Point of the Spear"
Dylan, Beka, and the Andromeda crew attempt to save Samsarra from the cold grip of the Pryians.
Rating: ***** This is the best episode in the series to date.
*"Vault of the Heavens"
The queen of an icy moon tempts Dylan to help her re-energize her people.
*"Deep Midnight's Voice"
A Nietzschean holds the one thing that could forever change the Slipstream.
After the superb collection three, the fourth and newest Andromeda season three collection is a mixed bag. In this package, we have three flawless gems and two glass imitations. While it is unrealistic to expect perfection every time, I must admit I felt some disappointment; the previous two collections from this season featured no misfires. "What Happens to a Rev Deferred?" and "Vault of the Heavens" reminded me of the ghastly turkeys Star Trek spewed out during its third and final season. What killed those episodes was an inconsistent tone and content that deviated from the successful formula, and the same thing happens here. "Vault of the Heavens" is such a goofy, off-the-wall episode that it provokes laughs instead of suspense. That would be fine if this had been the creative team's intention, but it evidently was not.
Despite those misfires, we do have three mini-masterpieces here. "Point of the Spear" successfully blends humor, action, and visuals to create a true tour de force. The writing, direction, and acting are so good that they manage to do the impossible: create an episode that transcends normal conventions to become something more powerful and yet accessible. Watch Kevin Sorbo's performance here and you'll see the image of Hercules forever shattered. He proves he is a great actor at last. "Deep Midnight's Voice" is equally great. It has a haunting quality that many science fiction series not named Stargate SG-1 lack. The basic premise of "The Right Horse" sounds clichéd and predictable at first glance, but superb acting (especially by Lisa Ryder, who gets better and better and better with each outing) and writing augment strong direction and visuals to make it a moving and exciting episode.
ADV presents the programs in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Anamorphic enhancement has been offered as well. These programs look sensational on DVD: Regular television transmissions simply cannot do justice to the crisp, flavorful photography and visual effects. The DVD offers bold colors and sharp details often absent on regular TV. The only debit is some light grain, but that is a natural side effect of dark-toned photography.
Dolby Digital 2.0 sound mixes have been offered once again. You have not heard Andromeda until you have heard it on DVD. The sound is incredible, a hundred times sharper than on television.
While some studios have shafted popular television programs on DVD, ADV Films has always loaded each collection with several extras. Collection four features the most in an Andromeda release to date. The traditional unfunny blooper reel is a given, as are the photo/art galleries, promotional spots, and previews of other ADV releases. Another "Meet the Cast" featurette appears here, featuring Lexa Roig (who plays the human form of the ship Andromeda). A "Meet the Director" featurette gives us a look into Allan Harmon's work on "Point of the Spear." The "Behind the Scenes" featurette showcases the stunts and fights of the series. All three featurettes are fascinating and insightful. For a change, several deleted scenes also appear here; watch them and you'll understand why they were cut. The second disc features the gem of the package: exclusive stunt training footage. Even better is commentary from star Sorbo and stunt coordinator Ernest Jackson. While many commentary tracks tend to be boring, Sorbo always manages to be entertaining.
As is the case with all Andromeda collections, ADV sees fit to charge $39.99 for each two-disc set. I find this ridiculous, as only the very rich or foolhardy can or will spend $200 for an entire season. If you take one thing away from this review, it's that you should shop around.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Meet the Cast: Lexa Roig" Featurette
* "Meet the Director: Allan Harmon, 'Point of the Spear'" Featurette
* Deleted Scenes
* Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
* Stunt Training Footage Featuring Commentary by Actor Kevin Sorbo and Stunt Coordinator Ernest Jackson
* Blooper Reel
* Art Galleries
* Promo Spots
* ADV Previews
* Official Site